People beach sunset photo

What settings should I use to photo a group of people as sun is setting on beach.sun will be behind people,as they want ocean behind them.i always end up with dark people. Helpppp


  • You will always find this a challenge, because of limited dynamic range. If you get the people well exposed, the sunset is likely to become overexposed and washed out. You can recover some of this by warming up the white balance to cloudy or shade. If possible, fill flash will help to light the people up without overexposing the background. For a proper fill flash you should expose normally in P,S, A or M mode, and then pop the flash.

    If the object is the people more than the sunset, you can also spot meter a face, and expose for that. The sunset will blow out to some extent, but the people will be well exposed. An alternative would be to use positive exposure compensation. Exactly how much may vary, but I'd try it at +1 and also at +2, check the histogram, and fine tune it. That will also tend to overexpose the sunset. The amount will depend greatly on how much of the frame the people occupy, and how much brighter the background is than the people.

    You will get some small benefit from leaving ADL (D-lighting) on, and you can get some benefit from post processing in a program that opens up shadows, but beyond a certain point it will look odd, and will also tend to increase noise, so the closer you come to getting it right at the start, the better.
  • Thank you much for your help.i am new to getting away from pre set modes,and it is a little scary.
  • edited August 2017
    It can be scary. But with a digital camera, you can make all sorts of experiments and mistakes, and just erase them. Nobody but you ever sees.

    If you're not in the mood to go too far toward manual modes, use the "P" program mode. In that, the meter still chooses both aperture and shutter speed, and if you leave it on Auto ISO, it will choose that too. Basically, it is and advanced "point and shoot" setting that will give you control of fill flash, metering and focus modes, etc., and ISO if you want it. When you use Auto ISO in P,S,A and M modes, start with it set at ISO100, and it will raise it as necessary. If results come out with too high and noisy and ISO, you can lower the max. in the menu. I'd lock out the HI settings to start with, and decide later if you want more limitation.

    If you have time and patience, you might try doing a google search for other exposure hints with "backlit subjects" as a search criterion. There's a fair amount of stuff out there, some explanations better than others. Your main challenge here is going to be raising the relative brightness of the subjects so that their exposure is closer to that of the sunset.
  • Thank you again. I will look up the subject. I take beautiful photos,but I prefer nature,critters and such..I do not want mess up these upcoming photos for my friends,critters don't fuss if u mess up,people will,and I want to do my best,as any of us would do.have a great day
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